Retail

Target employees at Virginia store file for union election amid a broader labor push at big companies


A worker delivers an order to a drive up customer at a Target store on August 19, 2020 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Target has joined the growing list of major companies where employees are trying to form a union.

Employees at a Virginia store filed on Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. The workers are seeking collective bargaining and get representation through the New River Valley General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Workers who filed for the election are at a Target store in Christiansburg, a town on the far west side of the state that’s about 8 miles south of Virginia Tech University. The location has 100 employees, according to the petition filed with the NLRB.

Target said in a statement Wednesday that it has been investing in its workforce, with a starting wage range of between $15 to $24 per hour, health care benefits and a program that covers the cost of some associate and undergraduate degrees.

“At Target, our team members are at the heart of our strategy and success, and we have a deep commitment to listening to our team and creating an environment of mutual trust where every team member’s voice matters,” it said.

The NLRB filing was first reported by The New Republic.

Across the country, companies have seen a spike in union activity this year. Workers at major consumer brands from Starbucks to Apple have filed for union elections. Amazon employees in Staten Island notched a historic victory in early April, when they voted for the company’s first unionized warehouse in the U.S. More than 250 Starbucks locations have filed petitions, and 64 company-owned Starbucks stores have voted to unionize, as of Tuesday.

The organizing effort has even caught the attention and support of President Joe Biden. He met last week with national labor leaders, including an organizer helping the Starbucks union push. The coffee shop chain criticized the meeting and asked for its visit with the White House.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, is not unionized and has fought off organizing efforts for decades. Kroger, a grocery chain that competes with Walmart and Target, has long had thousands of employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

-CNBC reporter Amelia Lucas contributed to this story.



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